Can Black People get Skin Cancer?
Yes, Black people can develop skin cancer. This is because they can be exposed to the same environmental risk factors, such as ultraviolet (UV) rays, as people of other races or ethnicities. However, skin cancer is less common in Black people.
Why is skin cancer less common in Black people?
The answer is Melanin.
Normally, all skin contains a pigment called melanin. However, compared to white skin, black skin has a higher amount of melanin. Higher amounts of melanin absorb or reflect more UV rays from the sun, helping to better protect skin cells from harm. This level of protection isn’t present in white skin, making it more vulnerable to damage from UV rays.
Unfortunately, due to reluctance and assuming that they cannot get Skin Cancer, quite often, skin cancer isn’t diagnosed in Black people until its later stages after the cancer has already spread to surrounding lymph nodes making it harder to treat.
Major causes of Skin Cancer in Black People
· Over-exposure to UV radiation from the sun or UV Lamps which can cause damage to DNA.
· Genetics: genetic factors play a role too.
Common Skin Cancer symptoms in Black People
First, it is important to note that not all skin cancers appear the same.
Skin Color inconsistency
A cancerous area can have a different color from the surrounding area of skin. It’s typically darker. On black skin, this may appear as: dark brown, purple, gray or blacker.
The color distribution also matters. A cancerous mole or spot may not have even color throughout. For example, some areas may be darker or lighter than others.
Shape of Spot or Mole
Spots or moles that may be cancerous are often different in shape than other spots and moles on your body. Look for spots or moles that have an irregular or asymmetrical shape, or a jagged border.
Size of Spot or Mole
For some types of skin cancer, such as melanoma, a spot or mole may be quite large. A good metric to use would be to look for suspicious areas that are larger than the size of a pea.
It’s possible that an area affected by skin cancer may bleed or form into a sore.
Skin cancer often evolves or changes over time. For example, you may notice that an area of concern becomes larger or forms a sore that either doesn’t heal or comes back.
Some types of skin cancer, such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma, may appear as an area that feels dry, scaly, or rough compared with the surrounding skin.
How to prevent Skin Cancer
Choose shade & shun direct sunlight
Cover up! Simply avoid having your body parts being over-exposed to sunlight by investing in hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves or pants.
Wear sunscreen. If you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure to wear sun screen with an SPF of 45 or higher.
Time well: Steer clear of the time when the sun is strongest i.e. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Check your skin. Once a month, perform a thorough check of your skin. Look for spots or bumps that have an abnormal color, size, or shape. If you notice anything concerning, check in with us and see our Lead Specialist.
Make your booking for Skin Cancer Screening or any of our services & products via 0758 232 889 or visit us at Forest Mall, Block B, GF4.
Block B – Forest Mall, Lugogo Bypass